Damion Berger’s work pushes the limits of photography and its expected relationship to light, time and movement. His unorthodox process makes photographic ‘recordings’ that defy the conventions of photographic image-making and question accepted notions of the representation of the real. Working in atypical lighting situations, using long-exposures, extreme apertures, and in-camera techniques, as well as printing the images in the negative, his works challenge the idea of the photographic moment by rendering the usually unseen or invisible, seen and visible.
For his Black Powder series, he used a large-format view camera with a set focus to document firework displays from Downtown Dubai to the Jardin du Tuileries in Paris. For his later Vessels series, he documented with all-night-long exposures the meanderings of sailing boats, mega-yachts and cruise liners drifting with the winds and tides around their anchors on the Mediterranean Sea. The resulting photographs have the formal geometry of layered line drawings. Playing between abstraction and conceptualism, Berger’s subject is in part the possibilities of photography as a human-operated tool, and the unique qualities of the analogue medium. As the artist has explained: “The negative as a delicate and intermediary step in the traditional photographic process, with its inverted tonalities, renders this other-worldly and somewhat magical image… all of this speaks to the analogue process and holds a particular fascination for me.”
Berger received his BFA from Parsons The New School for Design in New York and formerly worked as an assistant to the influential fashion photographer Helmut Newton.